Introduction:

Opioid addiction has taken the form of an epidemic in the USA. People suffering from mental disorders like PTSD and trauma chase after the feeling of rush and euphoria they experience from the opioids. Opioid abuse is not only a case just like other substance abuse, but it is also the result of chronic use of prescription drugs containing opioids.

Patients suffering from chronic non-cancer pain (CNCP) are often administered opioid medications. Even though this chronic opioid therapy for CNCP patients remains controversial among sublocade doctors near me, it is one of the most popular treatment strategies used in recent times. However, doctors prescribe these opioids without checking if the patient is suffering from PTSD even when studies have found strong connections between chronic pain, PTSD, and opioid addiction.

In America, a 22-fold increase of deaths caused by the intake of synthetic opioids was reported between 2012-2017 by the American Psychiatric Association. An alarming 30% increase in suspected opioid overdose emergency visits was also recorded in 2016-2017. This led to the declaration of the opioid crisis as a nationwide Public Health Emergency in 2017. Opioid abuse was prone to be more common in CNCP patients with PTSD. However, several Recovery Connection programs around the country have helped to rehabilitate these patients.

What are Opioids?

Natural or synthetic chemicals that bind with opioid receptors of the nerve cells of the body and brain while helping to dull the pain are called opioids. Prescription pain relievers, synthetic opioids, and heroin are included in this category. Physicians often prescribe opioid-containing drugs to patients with chronic pain, post-operative pain, active-phase cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care.

Opioids numb the pain or, at the very least, reduce the perception of pain. They also have many side effects that may include but are not limited to mental confusion, euphoria, drowsiness, constipation, and nausea. When taken or administered in high doses, it can also disrupt respiration.

Some of the common opioid pain relievers prescribed are:

  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Codeine
  • Morphine

Synthetic opioids include:

  • Fentanyl
  • Carfentanil
  • Methadone
  • Tramadol
  • Pethidine

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Fentanyl poses the biggest synthetic opioid threat to the US. It is one of the most potent drugs that is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. The suboxone clinics near me report that it may also be mixed with cocaine and heroin to make knock-off pills.

What are the tell-tale symptoms of Opioid Use Disorder?

If the intaking of opioids starts to interfere with the daily lives of the patient or user, that is when it becomes a disorder. Since opioids can lead to physical dependence within a very short time of around 4-8 weeks, users are most likely to continue abusing the drug despite the recurring negative consequences.

Just like other addictions, both genetic and environmental factors come into play in the case of opioid addiction. Ease of access to counterfeit drugs contributes heavily to the ongoing opioid epidemic. Opioid addiction may lead to serious conditions like disability, relapses, and even death.

Symptoms of Opioid addiction:

Within 12 months, the following problems or distress may show in opioid abusers:

  • Using the drugs longer or in larger amounts than was prescribed
  • Disruptive behavior and interpersonal problems in work, school, or at home
  • An unusual craving for the drugs
  • Going to a great length to obtain the drugs after being denied
  • Being unsuccessful to cut down or withdraw from opioid use
  • Continuing to use opioids despite physical or psychological problems arising from their use
  • Tolerance to opioids due to chronic use
  • Using the drug to avoid withdrawal symptoms

Opioid withdrawal symptoms:

Abrupt or forced withdrawal from opioids can lead to severe problems in the patients. These may include:

  • Generalized pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills
  • Cramps
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Intense craving

What is the role of trauma and PTSD in the case of opioid addiction?

Exposure to traumatic events during one’s lifetime may lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. Patients suffering from PTSD and trauma may turn to drugs to cope with their fear, stress, anxiety, and depression. People who experience traumatic events gradually overcome the grief and anxiety caused by them, but with the development of PTSD, it becomes all the more difficult to do so. PTSD or ongoing trauma may occur when a person experiences:

  • Military combat
  • Terrorism
  • Life-threatening accidents
  • Serious injuries debilitating some part of their lifestyle
  • Natural catastrophes
  • Death of a loved one

Asuboxone doctor near me says that the trauma that has caused PTSD in a patient may also trigger opioid addiction. These patients are prone to panic attacks and violent outbursts. Therefore, the intake of opioids may help to put their minds at ease and provide them relief temporarily. As soon as the effects wear off, they are most likely to rely on them over and over again.

The brain produces fewer endorphins after going through a traumatic period. Patients with PTSD thus depend on mood-enhancing drugs like opioids, which increase the release of endorphins. Their periods of mania can be difficult for families or friends to witness, so the guilt may drive these patients to repress these emotional issues with the help of opioids.

Certain triggers, places, and people associated with a traumatic event may affect PTSD patients with a history of drug abuse, leading them to relapse. Triggers for PTSD and addiction can overlap and worsen both disorders at the same time. One of the most dangerous and highly challenging symptoms of PTSD is the recurrence of suicidal thoughts that can be aggravated if abrupt opioid withdrawal is attempted.

How do suboxone centers near me treat trauma, PTSD, and opioid addiction?

It is not always easy to identify co-occurring opioid addiction and PTSD or trauma. Feelings of guilt and shame may force a patient to keep their addiction a secret. Once the symptoms are recognized, treatment of these disorders can only be carried out by doctors experienced in handling such patients with care.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the key to treating opioid addiction, says a suboxone clinic in Attleboro. Suboxone is a partial opioid agonist which has no negative consequences on the patient’s health.

Opioid medications:

Three FDA-approved medications have been proven to be effective in treating opioid addiction:

Methadone:

This drug helps to prevent symptoms of withdrawal. It reduces cravings and does not provide the user any euphoric feeling that they can get addicted to. Specially regulated clinics can only supply this drug.

Buprenorphine:

Similar to methadone, buprenorphine helps to prevent withdrawal symptoms and reduces cravings while blocking the effects of other opioids on the body. Only certified medical practitioners can administer this drug in clinics under strict supervision. This is the most common drug used by suboxone doctor Providence and in other places. Buprenorphine often comes under the brand name of Suboxone or Sublocade.

Naltrexone:

This, too, blocks the negative and positive effects of other opioids. Naltrexone is used in a suboxone clinic near me under the strict supervision of certified doctors and nurses.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) clarifies that these drugs are not replacements for the drugs that cause opioid addiction. These help the affected nerve cells of the brain to restore balance.

Naloxone:

Naloxone can reverse the effects of other opioids and block them easily. This is considered to be a life-saving drug by sublocade doctors in the case of an opioid overdose. If someone’s breathing stops or slows down, Naloxone helps to return it to normal. It comes as an auto-injector, an injectable, or a nasal spray.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:

Counseling or cognitive behavioral therapy is a widespread practice nowadays in treating drug addiction. It helps the patient to recognize the patterns of their thoughts, feelings, and actions to understand how these impact one’s recovery. The addicts are repeatedly made to revisit their painful memories to reduce the pain behind their ‘automatic’ negative thoughts.

PTSD patients may need to attend cognitive behavioral therapy sessions to deal with their trauma and painful memories. Specialized clinics and medical professionals can provide coordinated treatment for mental illnesses and opioid use disorders. In several suboxone treatment centers Brockton and other places, CBT is used to treat opioid addiction in PTSD patients.

Yoga, meditation, and physical exercise:

Physical exercise, yoga, and meditation constitute an important part of PTSD and opioid addiction treatment. Yoga and other workout routines help the brain to release endorphins that aid patients stricken with depression and anxiety. These endorphins can substitute the ones that are forcefully released due to opioid overuse. Meditation helps to increase mindfulness that can be beneficial for patients struggling to fulfill their interpersonal commitments at work, school, or home.

Preventive care and avoiding opioids:

Since opioids are easy to get addicted to, it is best to avoid them at all costs. Physicians and clinics offer treatment for chronic pain without involving medications containing opioids upon being requested to do so.

Studies have discovered that CNCP patients with comorbid PTSD received a higher dosage of opioids or concurrently used more than one type of opioid that may have led to their opioid addiction. Physicians prescribing opioid analgesic drugs for any CNCP patient must test the patient for baseline PTSD and administer the drug accordingly.

Conclusion:

Experts have noted that the co-occurrence between PTSD and opioid addiction is common and highly possible in patients receiving treatment for chronic pain. While it is difficult to withdraw from opioid use disorder, especially so because of the resulting adverse physical effects, the suboxone centers near me ensure that the road to recovery leads one to a far more fulfilling life. The role of the patient’s family and friends is important for providing moral support and motivation. With enough love and assistance, an opioid addict with PTSD can live a healthy and normal life.